We were on a play date with some friends of ours at the playground at Button’s school. Button decided to try and play with an older boy (he had a pretty cool pogo stick that she was hoping he would share with her). He was about 9 years old, and a full foot taller than Button. Unfortunately, he was being rather nasty to Button. I was watching them from afar, and noticed that their body language indicated that a conflict was afoot. So, she headed over to the basketball court, and this is what she observed . . .
The boy was taunting Button, instigating her, mocking her, and being mean in general. Button kept trying to use mature conflict resolution skills to get through to him. But every time she’d say something like, “I’m not joking about this; I’m being serious,” he would respond with something quintessentially Bart Simpson.
Finally, Button got fed up. She put her fists in the air and said, “Do you want a piece of me?” (she got this from the movie Annie and not from me!). Well, the boy was happy to oblige and took a swing at her, which she successfully dodged. He then began to taunt her again, because she avoided his punch. So, Button stepped back into the conflict, and he punched her in the chest. Button, of course, was very upset. So, she decided to take a swing, and clocked him in the face. At this point, fists began to fly and I stepped in and pulled the boy off of her. I then had a firm talk with him about how he was a man made in the image of God and that meant he was supposed to protect girls. It was like a 3-5 minute brimstone-like sermon…but it ended with a high-5. Siah stood by the whole time validating everything I was saying and giving the boy a piece of his mind, too.
Niki said to me later, “You know that kid had no idea what you were talking about, right?” Yea, maybe, but spiritual truth is still truth. And if this was his first time hearing anything like that, hopefully it won’t be his last. Mr. Picks-on-girls-a-foot-shorter-than-him.
After it was over, I explained to Button that while the kid threw the first punch, she took the conflict there with her invitation of “You wanna piece of me?!” I explained to her about when Jesus said to turn the other cheek (apparently that’s one of the lessons I hadn’t emphasized before…) It was one of those moments where, on the one hand, you have to correct your child about “starting” a fight. But, on the other hand, I also wanted to affirm her for not backing down from one! I know I probably shouldn’t be as amused as I am. But I’ve been grinnin‘ all weekend at her spunk and courage. She’s my daughter . . . through and through! Now we just gotta channel that spunk, so no more boys get clocked in the face!